hot chocolate 2011

In light of all that has happened over the past few days, running has taken on a whole new meaning. My training and my purpose for running the Chicago marathon was to raise money for lung cancer research through LUNGevity Foundation while honoring the most influential person in my young life, my grandmother. We called her yiya (Greek for grandma). Yi for short.

That reason was big enough for me to attempt what seemed (and still feels to be) the impossible. Running 26 miles and 385 yards all at one time and before the race shuts down. (I need to finish.)  It seems so big to me still. Yet, on Monday, tens of thousands of runners lined up and attempted to do the same in Boston. The turn of events was tragic, but the outpour of support, help, and unity has been incredible. It makes me proud to be a runner. And to attempt the same distance race.

When chatting with a friend on Monday night, she asked me if I still wanted to run the marathon in October now that everything has changed. Immediately I responded, “it makes me want to do it even more.”  I refuse to be scared or threatened in my own home town, on the streets I grew up on, by some unknown – I don’t know what else to call it but – evil. I will run with even more determination and resolve than before. Together, runners, family, Chicagoans, we are so much bigger than this.

Yesterday and today again, the nods and smiles I exchange with other runners reassures me that we’re together in this. There’s a newfound or maybe just renewed camaraderie that I find comforting. I had another painfully slow run today, but kept going regardless of the aches and pains. Simply knowing there are runners all over the world feeling what I feel inside, and experiencing the same aches and pains throughout their journeys, makes me feel like I belong. Like I’m a part of something bigger than just myself. So what more could I ask for.

Photo is of the 2011 Hot Chocolate Race in Chicago. Coincidentally, I ran it with the same friend who asked me if I would still run the Chicago marathon.

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